Getting medium naked at the mall in Jakarta

So this blog is devoted to those who just need to get out there and do something. Unfortunately, that process comes with it’s share of misunderstandings. Today’s involved getting medium naked at the mall in Jakarta. 

So, anyway, there I was, innocently minding my own business while considering shirts at a stall in a mall in Indonesia. I’m a fat, pasty white guy, and somehow people always get the idea I’m from out of town. Perhaps it is my accent. Anyway, it quickly became clear that my Christmas-expanded gut wouldn’t accommodate the size of the shirts they wanted to sell me. Both of the sales clerks were Muslim women in religious dress, and they very much wanted to make this sale. Eventually, they dug up a double extra large shirt. As a side note, this means something different than it does in the U.S. Whereas at home XXL means, “lifetime of bad dietary choices,” here it apparently meant, “shouldn’t have had a second helping of holiday pie.” Anyway, I decided to try it on.

There was, however, a technical problem. As I am wont to do when I go into public, I was already wearing a shirt. Something about me having a decent respect for the opinion of others, or something. Happily, however, I was actually wearing two shirts- a thin t-shirt was clearly visible underneath my outer shirt. As this stall had no changing room, I began to unbutton my outer shirt so I could try on their shirt. I assumed my intent would be clear. It was not.

At this point, a look a horror came over the faces of my interlocutors. They asked, politely but quite firmly, that I get only medium naked.  Suddenly, I had visions of the religious police (which Jakarta province does not have, but it was nonetheless the thought of the moment) showing up to demand why I was more naked than the law allowed. I also lacked the linguistic skills to successfully convey my intent, and at this point I was committed, so I kept going down Medium Naked Road until I could try on the new shirt.

It turns out I am a lot fatter than I was a week ago, and it didn’t fit very well either. Did. Not. Matter. I indicated by sign and grunt that I would like it, they wrapped it, and I paid. At that point I quickly left the premises to look for the buddy with whom I had arrived, hoping that he was not at all naked so as to facilitate our  rapid escape.

Sooo… get out there anyways and do stuff. Something will eventually go hilariously wrong, and that’s OK. It’ll probably work out just fine, and then you will have hilarious stories for years. Do remember to ask, of course, what constitutes “medium naked” wherever your next trip will take you. That’s information you’ll want to have in advance.

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